Aug. 29, 2006
Sophomore midfielder Mike Konicoff played in 14 games, starting 13, last fall. Konicoff and the Eagles have played two games already this season, recording a 1-1-0 mark. Konicoff, a Montebello, N.Y., resident, scored his first collegiate goal in the Eagles' 4-1 win over Maine on August 27.
What do you see as some of the team's strengths this year?
Well, having Charlie Davies back this year will definitely be a big plus. He was out last year because of an injury, and I think just as a team in general we're a lot closer.
What are some goals for the team this season?
Right now we just want to try to do as well as we can in the ACC. We had a little bit of trouble last year, so I think going out and trying to win as many games as possible would be the goal - and making the (NCAA) tournament.
What has the team focused on in order to achieve those goals?
We're definitely doing a lot of teamwork - working on strategy, different formations and stuff; how we're going to play against other teams.
Last year was the team's first year in the ACC. After experiencing a difficult first year, what are your thoughts on this upcoming season?
I'm hoping it's going to improve from last year. We're looking to do pretty well, though, and we're thinking very positively; nothing negative. Like I said, winning as many games as we can.
You spoke about Charlie [Davies] earlier. Can you go into more detail about what it means to have him back?
He's such an offensive threat, scoring goals and like even setting up goals, so he'll draw a couple players to him every game, so it'll open things up for other players. Alone he can create things for himself.
There are a lot of sophomores and freshmen on the team, so what is the team dynamic with so many young players?
Well, I mean we're all very close. I think the sophomore class has about 10 guys, so I think that's good. We're all young and we're all kind of going through it together. We're all real close, which I think is a huge part of it.
Have any freshman surprised you? Have you noticed any new players that have really stepped it up?
Chris Carey. He's playing right back now, and he's playing awesome. And, in goal, Mike Lawless. He hasn't played yet, but I think he's going to be pretty good.
Has any returning player stepped it up more than you expected?
As I said, with Charlie (Davies) coming off an injury, he's doing well. Sherron Manswell's playing really well in the middle, and Reuben Ayarna is playing really well.
You started the season with a double-overtime loss to Boston University on Friday. What do you think that tough season opener will do for the team?
Well, I'm hoping we can look at it as a positive thing, just try to go out and learn from it, and not let it happen again. I mean, it was a tough loss.
Do you think there are any lessons the team will learn from that game?
I think just in terms of closing games out. BU got the tying goal with two minutes left, so once we get in the lead, just keep it. Don't sit back at all, just keep going at them.
On Sunday, you scored your first collegiate goal, giving BC an early lead against Maine. Could you describe how it felt to net your first goal?
Yeah, it felt great, especially doing it early in the season. Now that I've got one, hopefully I can get a couple more. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any last year.
After earning All-America honors in high school, you got your first taste of college soccer last fall, starting in 13 games. What do you think is the biggest difference between the two levels?
I think physically it's a really big difference from high school - bigger bodies, everyone's real athletic. It's much faster. I just think it's a lot more demanding on your body. The pace of the game is quicker.
You earned a lot of game experience in your freshman year. Now a sophomore, how will that experience help you contribute to the team this year?
Well, I'm hoping it'll give me a lot more confidence, be more comfortable. Also, we're all a lot more comfortable with each other this year. We've got a whole year behind us, so that should help out a lot.
You were a big scorer - both goals and assists - in high school. What do you think your responsibilities are on this team and what do you look to contribute to the team?
I'm just hoping this year to get a lot of assists, a lot of goals, put some points on the board. I didn't do enough of it last year.
What have you worked on in the off-season and in practice to raise your game to a higher level?
I've just been doing a lot of running, getting my fitness up, a lot of sprinting, and then just working with the ball all the time. I played a lot in the summer, I played - on my club team and then on a PDL team (Premier Development League's Westchester Flames).
If there's one goal for you, personally, this season, what would it be?
Right now I just want to make the tournament and do well as a team. I just really want the team to do well.
Interview conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann